Eremite Records is an independent American jazz record label founded in 1995 by Michael Ehlers, with early involvement from music writer Byron Coley.[1][2] Ehlers was a student of Archie Shepp's at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.[3] After college, he began producing concerts in the Amherst area, and Eremite evolved from those events.[2][3] The label name came from an alternate title to the Thelonious Monk tune "Reflections": "Portrait of an Eremite".[4] The label's logo, designed by Savage Pencil,[5] is an image of a robed Joe McPhee playing soprano saxophone.[4] Eremite organized a concert series in Western Massachusetts that ran through 2008 and produced roughly 100 concerts, including five Fire in the Valley festivals.[6][7] From 1998–2018, Eremite managed a touring organization that arranged hundreds of concerts across North America for its artists.[7]

Eremite Records
FounderMichael Ehlers
Country of originUnited States

Eremite Records' early activities emphasized music by first and second generation musicians working in the American and international free jazz traditions, including drummers Denis Charles, Sunny Murray, and Juma Sultan, saxophonists Fred Anderson, Peter Brötzmann, Kidd Jordan, Sabir Mateen, and Jemeel Moondoc, trumpeter Raphe Malik, and bassists Alan Silva and William Parker.[7][8] Starting in 2002, Eremite collaborated with Peter Brötzmann to revive Brötzmann's personal imprint Brö Records.[9] After relocating from Western Massachusetts in 2009,[2] Eremite began collaborating with a younger generation of musicians, including multi-instrumentalist Joshua Abrams and guitarist Jeff Parker.[8] In 2021, Ehlers began working with the Black Editions Group, Los Angeles, on Black Editions Archive, an imprint focused on previously unreleased works by Milford Graves.[10][11]

Eremite releases have appeared in many best-of-year lists, including The Washington Post,[12] The New York Times,[13] The Chicago Tribune,[14] The Wire,[15] Rolling Stone,[16] DownBeat,[17] Jazz Times,[18] and Aquarium Drunkard.[19]

Concerning his involvement with Eremite, Sunny Murray stated the following: "This music has not established many real connoisseurs, men with quality and taste, so we get a lot of meatheads that are in control of the business... When a guy comes up, we're suspicious... we've... dealt with so many Frankensteins that we want to make sure this guy is not a Frankenstein... Michael's not a Frankenstein—Michael Ehlers, Eremite Records—he'll take a chance. And that's what made this business work, guys that took chances."[20]

Releases edit

References edit

  1. ^ Roe, Tom (2002). "Generation Ecstasy: New York's Free Jazz Continuum". In The Wire (ed.). Undercurrents: The Hidden Wiring of Modern Music. Continuum. p. 252.
  2. ^ a b c Preece, Ian (2020). Listening to the Wind: Encounters with 21st Century Independent Record Labels. Omnibus Press.
  3. ^ a b Freeman, Philip (August 30, 2017). "Eremite Records Celebrates Free Jazz's Past and Present". Bandcamp. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  4. ^ a b Iannapollo, Robert (July 9, 2005). "Eremite Records". All About Jazz. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  5. ^ Captain of the Deep (liner notes). Denis Charles IVtet. Eremite Records. 1998. MTE09.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  6. ^ Jenkins, Todd S. (2004). "Fire in the Valley Festival". Free Jazz and Free Improvisation: An Encyclopedia. Greenwood. p. 147.
  7. ^ a b c "About Eremite Records". Eremite Records. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  8. ^ a b "Eremite Records Catalog". Eremite Records. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  9. ^ "Brö Records". Eremite Records. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  10. ^ "Listen: exclusive Milford Graves treasures from the Black Editions Archive". The Wire. January 2022. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  11. ^ "Milford Graves - Michael Ehlers previews three previously unreleased pieces from the archive". Black Editions Group. February 9, 2022. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  12. ^ Richards, Chris (December 7, 2021). "Best music of 2021: Playboi Carti, Grouper, Turnstile, Yasmin Williams and more". Washington Post. Retrieved May 15, 2022.
  13. ^ Chinen, Nate (December 7, 2016). "The Best Albums of 2016". New York Times. Retrieved May 15, 2022.
  14. ^ Reich, Howard (December 11, 2015). "A productive, remarkably original year". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 15, 2022.
  15. ^ "The Wire's Top 50 Releases 2019". The Wire. December 2019. Retrieved May 15, 2022.
  16. ^ Weingarten, Christopher R. (January 2, 2018). "20 Best Avant Albums of 2017". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 15, 2022.
  17. ^ "2019: The Year's Top-Rated Albums". DownBeat. December 9, 2019. Retrieved May 15, 2022.
  18. ^ Chinen, Nate (April 26, 2019). "Critics' Lists 2011". Jazz Times. Retrieved May 15, 2022.
  19. ^ "Aquarium Drunkard: Decade / 2010-19". Aquarium Drunkard. October 30, 2019. Retrieved May 15, 2022.
  20. ^ Weiss, Jason (2012). Always in Trouble: An Oral History of ESP-Disk, the Most Outrageous Record Label in America. Wesleyan University Press. pp. 258–259.

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